The venerable Reader’s Digest took a shot at health care cost cutting a few months back. They have some good ideas (although mostly what we’ve all heard before, still worth the read): manage chronic conditions, improve quality, e-prescribe, collaborate more often, etc.
RD also takes aim at individual behavior (personal responsibility!!): pay workers for healthy habits, use retail clinics for the small stuff, set health goals and make them public, visit physicians virtually, …
The best, though, is the magazine’s plan for making thinking healthy a habit: our schools. RD says we need to reward healthy eating, rescue recess, and expand gym class. They very correctly note that today’s generation of children has a real risk of living shorter lives than its parents. There is plenty of room for local health care organization community involvement at school.
It is striking to listen to/read the number of pundits (professional or not) suggest ways to start fixing health care…and yet we lack widespread concentrated efforts on taking action. Maybe we need a national agenda with a health care czar (it’s a nation of czars, now) to spur the movement (the proverbial nudge) and incent action.
On a related note, The McKinsey Quarterly reports (free reg. req.) that we (USA) overspend on health care by $650 billion annually. The biggest culprits: outpatient care ($326 billion), pharmaceuticals ($98 billion), and administration ($91 billion). Again, nothing Earth shattering but plenty of opportunity for transformation.